The 70-mile Tour de Scottsdale bicycle ride is far from an afternoon jaunt, but the last leg is where the burn really sets in.
“There’s nothing flat about this course whatsoever,” said race director and DCB Extreme Adventures President David Benjes. “The last 10 miles are straight uphill.”
Sunday marks the charity ride’s third year. More than 1,000 cyclists are expected. The numbers have grown steadily since the tour’s inception, when about 500 people participated, Benjes said.
“We’re getting a slow growth. We’re really hoping there’s no limit to this event,” he said.
Benjes, a triathlete and cyclist, has participated in Ironman Triathlons in Arizona, Wisconsin, Idaho and New York. He has big plans for the event’s future.
“I’d like it to be completely humongous. I’d like there to be 10,000 riders,” he said.
Last year, about 17 percent of the riders came from out of town, including former Vice President Dan Quayle and his wife, Marilyn, Benjes said. But most riders are local.
“We get anything from five or six local teams . . . and then we get folks who live in the area or who heard about it and want to be a part of it,” he
Jim Clune, an environmental engineering consultant, has participated for the last two years.
“What it is is chaos at the start and then it thins out,” he said. “You have a mix of riders, from people who are new to the sport to those who ride professionally.”
Clune, one of several riders sponsored by Carlos O’Brien’s Mexican restaurant, said the Southwest is a hotbed of cycling.
“The big reason is the weather,” he said.
Finish times for the event range between 2 1 /2 and six hours, Benjes said. Aid stations that offer food, beverages and medical and mechanical assistance will be placed every 10 miles.
“If somebody decides they can’t make it, we have vehicles for that,” he said.
Scottsdale police and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will close one lane of traffic for most of the route. The police presence will be paid for out of the event’s $90,000 budget, Benjes said.
“For the most part, entry fees and sponsorship pays for the event,” he said.
Last year, the ride netted $40,000 in donations for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy and Rebuilding Together, which helps low-income people repair their homes, Benjes said.
The ride begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday on Market Street in the DC Ranch subdivision, at the southeast corner of Pima Road and Thompson Peak Parkway. It ends at the same place. There also will be a free 2.5-mile family fun ride beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Late race registration
Where: San Felipe’s Cantina, 20825 N. Pima Road
When: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $125 single, $150 tandem